Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WRITING TIP | Same Story, Different Eyes

How many times have we gotten into a disagreement with others, only to find our differences rested not in the circumstances, but in how each of us perceived those circumstances? We each have a distinct personality, a unique background, a separate string of life events that brought us to today. These factors affect how we view events and respond to them.

And our characters are no different.

In high school, I got to read Beowulf. Over the years, several authors have offered their own takes on the Beowulf story. One day, my teacher handed us a photocopy of a short story that retold a portion of Beowulf—through the eyes of Grendel, the villain. Immediately the concept fascinated me.

Because many years have passed, I don’t remember the title, author or details of Grendel’s story. Needless to say, though, Grendel’s perception of the events stood in stark contrast to how Beowulf perceived them.

Which brings us to the pieces we write—novels, songs, commercials, whatever. Our main character is Matthew, a 20-year-old college student. He grew up listening to Snoop Dogg. His parents divorced when he was eight; his mother remarried when he was twelve, and the second husband has two kids of his own. A few months ago, Matthew received news that sent his stomach into somersaults: A classmate died in a car accident while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Matthew is stunned. He’s never even experienced the loss of a grandparent, much less someone his own age. For the first time in his life, Matthew senses his own mortality. When he gets behind the wheel of his car, the notion that one accident can end someone’s life haunts him. As he proceeds through an intersection, he notices the car on his left approaches too fast. Matthew sucks a deep breath—but grows relieved when the driver comes to a full stop. Matthew searches for hope.

But suppose the main character is Matthew’s mom, Gayle. How would her perception of the same incident differ from Matthew’s? A former hippie, she grew up listening to Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix. Two of Gayle’s friends overdosed on LSD in the late 1960s. She lost all her grandparents, as well as her dad, to death by natural causes. She struggled through a divorce. When she hears of a young person’s death, it hits her like a punch to the gut. "Don’t kids today realize how fragile life is?" she wonders. Although tragic, however, she has experienced her own share of tragedy and has learned to press—or limp—through it. Once a week, Matthew calls to say hello. Often, their conversations turn to Matthew’s friend; Gayle helps Matthew sort through his emotions. She explains that his friend would want Matthew to keep the memory alive, yet move forward with his own life.

Same story, different perspectives.

As Marcel Proust, a French novelist, once said, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

Hope this helps. Never give up!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

NEWS | Latest Blog Tour Participants

Welcome to the latest stops on the From The Dead blog tour this September!

Fresh Fiction

Crazy Book Tours (and the bloggers who sign up through them)

Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog

My Overstuffed Bookshelf

I look forward to talking to you!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Recent Good Reads

For those looking for a good book, here are some recent reads that kept me glued to the pages:

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
The Graduate by Charles Webb (Yes, the book the film was based on!)
Flippin' the Script by Aisha Ford

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NEWS | Blog Tour Participants (So Far)

The From The Dead blog tour schedule has gotten off to a great start! For those who wish to participate, feel free to contact me at or by posting a comment here. For readers, I'll post a final road map as we head toward August.

In the meantime, thanks and welcome aboard to these tour stops so far, in order of their response:
Kent Holloway Online
By the Book Reviews
The Bookish Type
Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-A-Holic
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Welcome! I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NEWS | Join John’s Blog Tour!

As many of you are aware, my novel From The Dead hits shelves on August 31. I’m also excited to announce that during the month of September, I’ll hit the road on an author blog tour. Currently I have a handful of bloggers signed up for the tour and will post an itinerary by August.

This tour is not limited to book-themed blogs or websites! Are you a blogger or site owner? Would From The Dead or its subject matter interest your audience? I’d love to include you!

How to contact me: You can post a comment here and include a link to your blog/site. Or you can send me a message at and I’ll be in touch.

What will happen: If you and I decide we’d make a good match for the tour, we’ll schedule a date and assemble 3-5 interview questions.

Thanks all! Looking forward to it!